While my own youth and early teens had a variety or musical influences from home, many which have shaped music that I latterly listened to, none were things I could talk to friends about. I did attempt to feign knowledge of ‘popular beat combos’ but generally made errors, suggesting the likes of Slade, The Sweet and Emerson Lake and Palmer – whose ill drawn logo appeared on the back of many a school rucksack of the era, including my own. There was little or no actual knowledge of the music that I purported to like, so any cursory attempt to ask about which albums I had was met with blank looks on my part and the inevitable witty banter or derision as a result. The ELP rucksack mysteriously ‘disappeared’ at school one day (although strangely I was able to take all the contents home in a carrier bag….) I would probably have been better off sticking to things I actually knew about, such as Mozart.
Around the Millennium, I had returned to those classical roots, but as my older son was approaching his early teens, and the younger son not far behind, I wanted to make sure that they at least had the musical influences from home that might get imbued into their own musical consciousness and allow them to name drop without the risk of the mockery and embarrassment that I had experienced at their age.
There would be no point dusting down the old Blur and Oasis CDs, they needed new sounds, new bands and new music. So despite my dislike of adverts invading my life, my non-running journeys to work started to have the accompaniment of XFM. One of the first songs I heard on the station, in the early summer of 2005, was Maxïmo Park’s ‘Going Missing.’ I loved it, it was proper, basic rock and roll music – it felt as though a musical space in my life had been filled. The CD of the ‘A Certain Trigger’ was bought the next day – the first of many similar bands from the era like The Rakes, The Enemy, The Pigeon Detectives and a little later Arctic Monkeys.
As for the strategy; well, it sort of worked – the indie music influenced my eldest and youngest; my eldest borrowed loads of my CDs and we saw a couple of dozen bands live together. ‘A Certain Trigger’ was often the backdrop to return trips home from Selhurst Park with all three children, my daughter always changing the words of one of the lines of my favourite track,‘The Coast is Always Changing’, from ‘And we look out upon the sea’ to ‘And we look out upon the ceiling.’ The reasons for the change presumably came from her six year old self mishearing, but it is still the same whenever she hears and sings it – now approaching 17.
Fast forward ten years to the autumn of 2015; Maxïmo Park (still with a proper rock umlaut, although not in lights) did a short 10th anniversary tour where they played ‘A Certain Trigger’ in its entirety as the second half of the gig. My eldest got tickets, as a present, for the ‘leg’ at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, I was a little apprehensive as one of the odd psychological impacts of my accident had been an intolerance of noise, including loud music, and I hadn’t listened to Maxïmo Park since January as a result. I needn’t have worried though, I loved it – I was able to sing along, almost word perfect, and almost mimicking Paul Smith’s Geordie intonation. For a couple of hours, I had gone back in time.
Sadly, I couldn’t find any footage from the Roundhouse of the song – but a few nights later they performed it at Newcastle City Hall.